Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thank ... whomever ... it's over

What a turgid borefest the All-Star Game turned out to be. Although I did enjoy the thought of all those players having their carefully laid New York plans go astray as the game went on ... and on and on and on. Tim McCarver remains ear-gratingly awful. Terry Francona did not have a "number in his head" of how many pitches he was going to leave Scott Kazmir out there. Or, if he did, the number should have been zero, considering he threw 104 pitches on Sunday. Which I know because McCarver mentioned it 1,138 times. I lost track of the number of times McCarver mentioned a fielder's positioning or that it was a bunting situation. Half the time the player didn't even bunt, much to McCarver's surprise. Perhaps because they're friggin' All-Stars and giving away outs is doubly moronic for them?

As I listened to the broadcast and heard every cliche in the book tossed at me, I decided to repost an old article from last year. Is this lazy? Yes. Nevertheless, here it is:

Expressions MLB needs to retire

He's a great [insert number in line-up] hitter

Common manifestations: He's a great lead-off man -- traditionally this means he takes a lot of pitches, has a high OBP, and steals bases at better than a 75% clip (i.e., he's not Juan Pierre). Or, he's a "good number two hitter" -- often what is meant is that this player is great at intentionally getting himself out via the sacrifice. Which is, in fact, not an accomplishment at all.

There are only good hitters, period. A good hitter hits for power (good slugging percentage), has a relatively high OBP, and generally gets himself on base. Most importantly, a good hitter does not make outs as frequently as less-good hitters. Not everyone can be a good hitter, of course, but it doesn't mean that the definition changes depending upon where they bat in a line-up. It's not as though I'd break up my squad of nine Adam Dunns just so I can slip in Luis Castillo. Also, it's been proven that batting order has almost no impact on the probability of scoring runs, so it's a waste of time to agonize over.

He strikes out too much

This one makes my teeth hurt. Look at the top (or bottom, depending on your perspective) list of strikeout guys every year. Typically, it looks a lot like an All-Star or MVP ballot. The expression should be: he strikes out too much considering his lack of power, or inability to take a walk, etc. Striking out, in and of itself, is not always a bad thing. For example, it's better than grounding into a double play.

In an AL game: This is an obvious bunting situation

You have a better chance of scoring runs with a runner on first and no outs then with a runner on second with one out. This has been proven with something like a bajillion statistics. Accept it, and move on. Unless a secretly injured player for whom there is no replacement, a pitcher, or Neifi Perez is at the plate, there are precious few situations in which you would want to even think about bunting. The obvious exception being when you have a sloth-like third baseman playing in shallow left.

A walk doesn't help you here

When I hear this, it is the equivalent of being kicked in the balls. First off, if the guy is walking, he probably didn't get a good pitch to hit (or, if he did, he missed it, which doesn't change the fact that this is a dumb saying). Not making an out is preferable to making an out. You get more base runners, you wear out the pitcher, and, most importantly, you don't swing at bad pitches. Swinging at bad pitches is dumb. The doubting thomases out there are probably saying: "What about the double play?" Fine. If the play-by-play man is psychic, and can foresee that there will be a double play if the batter doesn't swing at pitches a foot outside of the zone, I will concede that taking a walk is a bad idea.

He's a "professional"/"real" baseball player/hitter

A professional baseball player is a person who receives compensation for playing the game of baseball. A real baseball player is one who is tangible and not computer generated. These are useless expresses that add nothing to one's analysis or understanding of the game. In other words, something that we would expect to hear from Joe Morgan or Dusty Baker.


David said...

I love it! Having stayed up to watch the entire game, I now feel as groggy and uncoordinated as a "sloth-like third baseman" this morning. Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

2 innings of A-Rod and 12 of Longoria = bad bad bad